You're Still More Likely To Get Hit By Lightning Than Convicted From Sharing Culture

In 2012, more than twice as many Swedes were hit by lightning as were indicted for sharing culture. This stands in stark contrast with the scare campaigns from the copyright industry. When confronted with facts, the copyright monopoly lobby’s fear campaigns to stop people from sharing freely come across as outlandish at best.

The tallies for last year are in. Ten people were charged in 2012 with violating the copyright monopoly from sharing culture freely, and all of them convicted (as we know that courts can’t be trusted in this field). Ten people out of four million sharing culture on an everyday basis, directly or indirectly.

The copyright industry likes to blow the horns and whistles loudly over each such conviction, cynically holding them up to the public as a dire example. Some people are understandably falling for this. But is a fear of the copyright industry… rational?

As human beings, we have a tendency to adjust our behavior both to avoid and seek one-in-a-million events that will, statistically, never happen to us nor to anybody we have ever heard of. For example, we play the lottery, despite the odds of winning being less than a letter’s chance of arriving by carrier mackerel across the Sahara. We also spend ridiculous amounts of money in the War on of Terror, despite the fact that we should rationally be spending our money fighting bathtubs and stairs instead (five times as many die in bathtubs, and over a hundred times as many falling down stairs).

So is there a rational reason to fear the copyright industry’s tantrums? Let’s compare to being struck by lightning. Are you afraid of being struck by lightning? No? Like most people, you’re probably dismissing it as an insanely improbable event.

It turns out that almost twice as many people are hit by lightning each year as are convicted for sharing culture.

In an average year, 17 people are hit by lightning in Sweden, with last year being exceptional where a lightning bolt struck into the audience at a music festival and hit 19 people at once. In contrast, the copyright lobby is touting 2012 as a record year, with ten people convicted – almost half as many as were hit in one lightning strike last year.

The copyright lobby likes to play on people’s emotions of fear. If you ever feel that fear creeping up as they try to make examples of a few people, remember that you’re still twice as likely to be hit by lightning. Being a good human being involves sharing culture and knowledge with fellow human beings, regardless of any immoral copyright monopoly.

Oh, and as a final note? Those ten people out of four million who were convicted of sharing culture against the monopoly – they were all convicted on the basis on their own confession, something you should never do. The charges were dropped against everybody else.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Vanish

    Now I’m afraid to be struck by lightning. Thanks, Rick…

  2. Björn Persson

    But although the risk is low, basic safety precautions such as lightning conductors and disk encryption are still a good idea.

    And by the way I think a mackerel’s chance of crossing the Sahara is actually even lower than the chance of winning a lottery. 🙂

    1. Ano Nymous

      Thats good, but disk encryption prevents evidence from being found when suspicion has been raised. An anonymizing service prevents suspicion from being raised in the first place.

      And the very best is of course both.

  3. Anonymous

    unfortunately, the US entertainment industries dont look at anything as being ‘culture’. they look at everything, including what they have no rights to or say in, as being theirs! they think that regardless of what the data is, they deserve a share of the profits and will go to any lengtghs to get that. on the other hand, they insist, just like Apple, that they are entitled to use anything from anyone for free, but everyone must pay an extortionate amount when using something that really does belong to them. there has never been a more selfish bunch than this, nor better examples of the selfishness itself!
    now, there are more talks afoot, involving that arse hole Karel de Gucht which are trying to bring back into being even worse conditions than those in ACTA! they never learn! they cannot be trusted! they need replacing!! they will not stop until as much shit as possible has been inflicted on to the people and as many hard- fought for freedoms and privacies have been removed!! this has come about because of the defeat of ACTA and SOPA. this is why there has been an aliance started between the USA and the EU! we need to be vigilant and aware of all that these fuckers are up to!! PP members of Parliament are in for a rough time, yet again, trying to fight this shit!!

  4. Ano Nymous

    I’ve been experiencing problems with this comment function
    This is only a test

  5. Anonymous

    Reading these rational, enlightening comparisons is like a breath of fresh air. I’ve waited my whole life to hear arguments like this spoken aloud.

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